指朕村

貧匯鐙 和匯鐙

謎呟寓灸(AMAZING GRACE)

Big Wave(湖仍广宀旨篠)

  
  Amazing grace! How sweet the sound!
  That saved a wretch like me!
  I once was lost but now am found,
  Was blind but now I see.
  
  'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
  And grace my fears relieved;
  How precious did that grace appear
  The hour I first believed!
  
  Through many dangers, toils, and snares,
  I have already come;
  'Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
  And grace will lead me home.
  
  The Lord has promised good to me,
  His word my hope secures;
  He will my shield and portion be,
  As long as life endures.
  
  Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
  And mortal life shall cease;
  I shall possess, within the vail,
  A life of joy and peace.
  
  The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
  The sun forbear to shine;
  But God, who called me here below,
  Will be forever mine.
                          By John Newton
  
  
  When I type this song, even though I have sung it many times, the tears still come to my eyes. It is forever touching, forever beautiful and meaningful. It always brings new light and new messages to me every time I sing it. Does this song touch you when you read it? Would you like to find out who wrote it; what kind of person he was; what experience he had to make him say what he said; how can he be so certain of the glorious hope he had? I'd like to know these things, and I'd also like to know if he felt the same as I feel when singing this song.
  
  The name of the author is John Newton.
  
  John Newton was a famous hymn writer and he had written almost 300 hymns in his lifetime. If you have heard his story, you would know that almost every line in "Amazing Grace" was written through his experience, the experience he had with God. 
  
  Newton was not a born Christian. The life of his youth was far from a servant of God and an author of Gospel Hymns. When he was seven years old, he lost his only parent, his mother. He started working on the ships as a sailor at the age of eleven, and traveled back and forth between Africa and England. Believe or not, one of his jobs was to collect slaves and sell them to the slave traders in England.
  
  Before Newton was twenty, he had already been through many trials and hardships. His life was in danger all of the time because he often had to travel through huge storms along the Atlantic Ocean. He had seen and heard many incidents of how people died on the sailing trips. He never knew what would happen to him, and when. The terribly poor life of the Africans remained deeply in his impression through out his entire life. He had seen the darkest side of the human living experience. And because of his involvement in the business of slave trade, he could easily lose his life. In his own words, Newton said: "a conservative estimate would suggest that one out of every five sailors involved in the slave trade died in the sordid business". (Edwards, p.24) But God had "Saved a wretch like me" through His "amazing grace". God had been in charge of the life of His servant before he even knew it.
    
  Compared to many other sailors, Newton was fortunate because he did not lose too many years of his life. His turning point came when he was twenty-three. At that time he was actually quite a wild young man. The hardship of his life had hardened his heart, and his sensibility was like steel. He had no connection with any other human being, and all the people around him hated him. He had no direction or purpose in life, he even had no control over his life. With nothing much to do on the ship during his long journeys at the sea, Newton began to read a book called "Imitation of Christ" written by Thomas Kempis, and that gave the Holy Spirit a chance to work in him. Just then, Newton was sailing from Africa to England and the ship got caught in a storm that could take all the lives on that ship. Newton remembered what he read about God's love, power and the salvation He offered us through His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. He asked God for help. Surprisingly, they landed safely and later on he witnessed that it was the Lord who saved him. Through this experience, Newton began to accept Christ as his savior and it led his conversion in the future.
  
  Just as we all grow one step at a time, it also took Newton several years to develop his right concept about God and human beings. He continued to work with the slave market for the next few years, but he started to justify his work by seeking to improve in the conditions of the slave as much as he could.  
          
  We often forget that it is a gradual process for a Christian to grow, and we often expect too much from our fellow believers or from ourselves. Many of us want to jump right to the ideal Christian lives just over the night, and often get depressed if we find out that we are not there the next morning. Then we get disappointed at our "failure", and some would blame themselves for not being spiritual enough to overcome human weakness and so on. But as Christians, we ought to know that it is a lifetime process to reach our goal, to be what God wants us to be, and to overcome the world. As long as we have the willful hearts to let God lead our lives and submit ourselves entirely into God's hand, we will be useful vassals for God.
  
  Newton struggled with what he was doing in the new light of his Christian faith for the next few years. Eventually he had come to a point that he felt convicted of the inhuman aspects of his work and he became a strong and effective crusader against slavery. He stopped working as a sailor and found himself a job as a clerk in England, and he started leading spiritual meetings and conducting worship services.
  
  About nine years later, Newton felt a call from God to do His ministerial work. He began to study diligently. And there were two other famous men he met, Whitefield and Wesley, they both had helped him and influenced him greatly. Soon he was ordained by the Anglican Church and began to work as a minister. He often shared his early life experiences as a sailor and how God saved him. His work was very fruitful.
  
  Personal witnesses are always powerful and effective in gospel work. If people around you, especially those who know you well, can see and hear your testimonies, they would be interested in your stories. They would not only believe in your words, but also they would see the actual facts on how God works through human beings. That was what Newton did and he was very blessed.
  
  Newton lived in London for the last thirty years of his life, and worked as a minister.
  In those days, people did not often sing hymns during worship. But Newton led his congregation to sing a lot of hymns which expressed their faith and hope. When he found there were not enough hymns, he began to write his own. And many of the hymns he wrote touched people's hearts. A noteworthy event happened in England on the same year Newton died was that the British Parliament abolished slavery through all of its domain. Newton's most famous "Amazing Grace" has remained through many generation and it has comforted many people. For it represented Newton's life and faith. It tells us that it is the grace that saves us; it is the grace that helps the blind to see; it is the grace that set slaves free; it is the grace that relieves fears; it is the grace that gives us safety and it is the grace gives us hope and joy. We will receive glory and everlasting life because of that grace.
  
  As we look at ourselves, we are often like wretches, blind, homeless or living dangerous lives. But the grace is sufficient for all of us. He who grants us this grace is our God, the God who created our lives; who did not abandon us after we sinned, but gave us Jesus to save our lives; who gives us the hope of eternity; who knows us as no others would; who has counted the number of our hairs; who would always be there whenever we call on Him for help. And in Him we can trust.
  

佚剿岻壇

井幡恬宀侭嗤猟嶄鉱泣音旗燕云嫋。

貧匯鐙 和匯鐙